The fixture list is out, and there’s no huge surprise – everyone plays everyone twice, once at home and once away. But we all know the Premier League is a little bit more complicated than that. Getting off to a fast start is crucial, especially for the clubs competing for honours or European places.
And that’s definitely true for the defending champions Manchester City. Liverpool took the title race to a dramatic final day last season, so if the blue half of Manchester will be celebrating again, City will need to pick up “easy” points when they’re offered.
Lucky for them, their opening five games look very, very winnable.
West Ham – Away[Image Credits]
Last season: 2-2 Draw
Starting away from home is always more challenging than kicking off your season in front of your own fans, and a trip to London to play the Hammers might be more difficult for City than it first appears.
Last season’s game ended in a 2-2 draw courtesy of a Coufal own goal, but the champions will hope that with the new signing Erling Haaland firing will mean they don’t have to rely on charity from their hosts.
The last time City lost to the Hammers in the league was way back in 2015, so the smart money here is on a comfortable Manchester City win. That – and the Haaland factor – will be enough to tempt any fan into picking up West Ham vs Manchester City tickets.
Bournemouth – Home[Image Credits
Last season: N/A, Bournemouth were promoted from the Championship
Newly promoted sides don’t usually fare well against defending champions. Just ask any of the sides who’ve come up in recent years. But then Bournemouth have shocked the world before. Back in 2015, the newly promoted Cherries headed to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea – the defending champions. A result so shocking it ended Jose Mourinho’s career at the Blues.
Pep Guardiola won’t have any such worries though. In 17 meetings, Bournemouth have never managed a win against City. Their last point came back in 1999 when both clubs were scrapping in the second division.
That said, Bournemouth have scored in their last three trips to the Etihad, so fans with Bournemouth vs Manchester City tickets should expect to see goals. Just don’t be surprised when most of them end up in the Bournemouth net.
Newcastle – Away[Image Credits]
Last season: 0-4 Manchester City win
How times change. Last time City travelled to the North East, Newcastle were one of football’s crisis clubs. No money, a terrible manager, and a feeling of doom and gloom. Then came Saudi Arabian billions, a host of new players, and an exciting new boss in Eddie Howe.
Admittedly they had all that when Newcastle travelled to Manchester in May only to be hammered 5-0, but this season’s Magpies are a different beast entirely. They’ll want to show the established top six that they’re not here to mess about, and what better way to do that than with a statement win over the champions in front of 50,000 screaming, shirtless Geordies?
City will be confident – after all, since Newcastle last beat them in 2019, the Citizens have scored 22 goals to their opponent’s 6. But this is the trickiest of the Manchester club’s opening fixtures and a draw wouldn’t necessarily shock the world. If you want a tightly contested game, Newcastle vs Manchester City tickets might just be a sound investment.
Crystal Palace – Home[Image Credits]
Last season: 0-2 Crystal Palace win
Imperious? Yes. Relentless? Yes. Unbeatable? No. City are a lot of things, but they’re not invincible, as Palace proved back in October when they handed the Citizens a shock 2-0 loss in Manchester.
But good teams take revenge, and with last season’s talismanic midfielder Connor Gallagher returning to parent club Chelsea, Palace look much more vulnerable.
The same can’t be said for their hosts, who are seriously strengthening this summer as they look to retain their league title, finally seize the European crown, and probably pick up a domestic cup or two along the way if they feel like it. Last season’s shock probably won’t be repeated, but Manchester City vs Crystal Palace tickets might be a front-row seat to a five star performance from a team that still has something to prove.
Nottingham Forest – Home[Image Credits]
Last season: N/A, Forest were promoted from the Championship
What’s kinder than playing a promoted team in your first home game? Playing two promoted teams in your first three home games!
On paper, this should be a cricket score. City are irresistible, and Forest were lucky to beat out Huddersfield in the Championship playoff final (with Terriers fans still complaining about the two penalties they could’ve had, let alone the decisive own goal). You’d be a brave, brave soul to put money on Forest getting anything at the Etihad.
But then you’d have to be brave to bet on Forest winning back to back European Cups, and they managed that feat – something that’s eluded City, despite having one of the best managers in world football and almost limitless funds. The smart money says City. But there’s potential for drama here that will make Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest tickets highly sought-after.
Four wins and a draw should be the bare minimum for City’s opening five games if the Citizens are to retain their title this year, and the way they start might well determine the destination of the Premier League title. So make sure you pick up your Manchester City tickets soon!
Founder and editor of Footiecentral. A voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to the history of football. He’s an ardent supporter of Manchester United and rarely misses a match.